Andrew Garfield: ‘I am a gay man right now just without the physical act’

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At first, I only read the first half of the headline and I thought “that makes sense.” The headline was “Andrew Garfield: ‘I’m a gay man now because I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race’” I just read it as “Andrew Garfield: I’m a gay man now…” As it turns out, Andrew Garfield is starring in a London production of Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. At a press conference for the play this week, Garfield talked about how he gets into character by just watching RuPaul’s Drag Race constantly. And Garfield seems to feel like he’s a gay man now because of it?

Andrew Garfield has claimed he’s a gay man right now, just “without the physical act”. The former Spider Man star, who hit headlines last year when he snogged Ryan Reynolds at the Golden Globe Awards, has been busy preparing for his latest role as a gay man. Andrew revealed that he’s been spending his weekends watching RuPaul’s Drag Race to get himself into character – because that’s what all gay men do, right? You know, at the monthly meetings.

“The preparation had begun before (rehearsals began) with a lot of my friends. The play is as much devoted to my friends in the gay community as it is those that passed during the epidemic. My only time off during rehearsals – every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru. I mean every single series of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I mean every series. This is my life outside of this play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act – that’s all,” he said during a panel discussion at the National Theatre this week.

The Hollywood star then went on to insist that while he’s not actually gay, he’s not afraid of having an “awakening” later in life when it comes to his sexuality. He continued: “As far as I know, I am not a gay man. Maybe I’ll have an awakening later in my life, which I’m sure will be wonderful and I’ll get to explore that part of the garden, but right now I’m secluded to my area, which is wonderful as well. I adore it, but a big concern was what right do I have to play this wonderful gay role?” he added.

[From Attitude]

My take on this is that he was not trying to be offensive, he was actually trying to be sex-positive and supportive, and it just came out rather awkwardly, and like he was making a massive stereotype about gay men? Like, it takes more than repeated viewings of RuPaul’s Drag Race to “make someone gay.” And many straight men, straight women, bisexual men and women, etc, all enjoy RuPaul. As for Andrew’s “I am a gay man right now just without the physical act” – again, his intention isn’t to offend. I’m pretty sure that he’s just bragging about his Method.

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60 Responses to “Andrew Garfield: ‘I am a gay man right now just without the physical act’”

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  1. Cleo says:


    On a superficial note, he really has aged quickly in a short amount of time.

  2. astrid says:

    Maybe he is easing himself out of the closet?

    • minx says:

      My thought.

    • Ramon says:

      We thought the same about James Franco and five years later, still nothing. These wannabe arty types think toying with the gay identity makes them more avant garde. White musicians have been doing the same with black identity for decades.

    • mar_time says:

      The audio is so different to the text…I heard it last night and can’t find it now. He said it in context to not fully understanding the character because he wasn’t a gay man, he was very respectful

  3. MI6 says:

    Man, he is Method as hell. Intense actor. Big fan 👍
    Wish I could see this production.

    • Annetommy says:

      In the UK it’s being shown in cinemas later this month as part of the National Theatre Live process, they may have plans to do that internationally, keep an eye on the NTL website.

      • MI6 says:

        Thanks AnneTommy, et al! ❤ I shall keep on eye out. The HBO production here in the US was top-notch, but more looking forward to the NTL performance.

    • Tina says:

      It was amazing, and he was absolutely incredible. Whatever went through his head to achieve that performance was worth it. At the end of Perestroika, the audience (which included many gay men) leapt to its feet, and he got a huge cheer. I honestly think he meant to be respectful. I was in awe that an actor of that age could achieve such a performance (and I go to the theatre a LOT).

    • AG-UK says:

      My friends saw it all day on Saturday said they both were really good both he and the other guy whose name escapes me. I def. don’t think I can sit through an all day 2 part play.

      • Tina says:

        You’d be amazed – I went in not looking forward to the length, but the time absolutely flew by. It’s a fantastic play and a wonderful production.

  4. Originaltessa says:

    Or, you could look at it like he’s so method he completely immerses himself in the life and lifestyle of the character. Except the physical act of being a gay man…would definitely want to make sure people know he’s not doing THAT. Eye roll

  5. ArchieGoodwin says:

    Oh sit down, Andrew. Being gay isn’t a choice or from watching Ru, so stop feeding the notion that it is and can then be changed by like, not watching Ru. It’s offensive at any point in time, yet particularly so given the (current) administration in the US.

    • INeedANap says:

      Yeah I am starting to think he an Mel Gibson (his director for Hacksaw Ridge) were really made for each other.

      This is gay-baiting and I am not here for it.

    • WTW says:

      @Archie, Totally agree. I find it offensive that watching “Drag Race” is his idea of going method for a gay role. If he’d said he was reading about the history of Stonewall, Harvey Milk, gay poets from early 1900s, etc., I wouldn’t find it offensive, but to say he’s watching a TV show that perpetuates stereotypes of gay identity is offensive. Many gay men don’t identify at all with the folks on “Drag Race.” It’s akin to someone saying they’re going to learn more about black people by watching the “Friday” movies. Anyway, I think Garfield just the made the case for why a gay person should have played this role. It’s not as if there’s a shortage of gay actors in the industry.

  6. Karen says:

    He’s in an important play about a time of crisis and fear, and trivialized it by getting into the character’s mind’s eye by watching drag reality tv competitions? Um, wow.

  7. OriginallyBlue says:

    I rolled my eyes.
    I still can’t stand him.

  8. Mia4s says:

    He has seemed really….off…for a couple of years now. Several of his interviews he comes across as really troubled for lack of a better word and does not seem happy overall. Not unusual for actors, but most are able to hide it or it’s not so blatant. I can’t put my finger on it but I would not be the least bit surprised by a trip to rehab or a revelation of mental issues. I hope I’m wrong but…

    • third ginger says:

      True, but at the same time, he has gotten his best reactions from critics.

    • Cynical says:

      I agree. Maybe he doesn’t have the ability to compartmentalize well enough to go full method, so his past few roles have really taken their toll. He doesn’t seem especially healthy.

  9. Lionika says:

    He’s a silly twit. This seems all rather self-aggrandizing. Maybe he feels deep down that the role should have gone to a gay actor, but declaring you are a gay man is hardly going to resolve that concern.

  10. Esmom says:

    Oh, Andrew. Not good.

  11. Megan says:

    Perhaps Moonlight, Other People, Spa Night, Big Sky, Beautiful Things, Torch Song Trilogy, etc. would provide a more accurate education for a method actor.

  12. seesittellsit says:

    You should hear what Data Lounge has to say on this topic with this actor.

    • Elsa says:

      Do you have a link?

    • Sylvia says:

      Yes! As soon as I saw this thread my first thought was datalounge… I remember a few years ago they did an in-depth analysis of this thread on reddit supposedly by an unnamed actor who needed to vent about being gay and wanting to come out, but was forced into the closet because of his career. IIRC he alluded to being in a PR relationship with a beard (but they were good friends) and maybe hinted at his status as a leading man in superhero or big action flick type movies? It’s been awhile since I read it. Anyway, the general consensus on datalounge was that it was Andrew Garfield… it was a sad story though, because that reddit poster sounded so miserable and depressed.

  13. Birdix says:

    A friend of mine used to get packages all the time from his mom with Wizard of Oz merchandise because she thought all gay men loved Judy so much.
    Sounds a little like Garfield’s line of thinking, but hers had no ego involved.

    • INeedANap says:

      Your friend’s mom sounds like she was trying to show her love and acceptance to her son in a genuine but bone-headed way, and honestly it’s kind of sweet. My cousin came out last year and my grandparents sent her a bunch of flannel shirts and a k.d. lang CD, because they are old, confused, and adorable.

      Garfield is just a bonehead.

      • third ginger says:

        I am going to pass this Garfield statement along to my gay daughter and other members of the community. I’m stumped. Birdie and Ineeda nap, I enjoyed your comments. In college, my daughter’s friends would joke about her idea of dressing up was a new flannel shirt. Her longtime girlfriend,however, is constantly in dresses. I will have to tell her this story. My best to you both.

    • QueenB says:

      Yeah its not like moms arent clueless about straight relationships either xD That comes from a place of love, this here is ego and vanity.

  14. JA says:

    Why does that even mean? STFU Andrew and get over yourself.

  15. Ash says:

    Just came to say I love the Wizard of Oz and kd Lang comments! I can see some 🙄 By the recipients of those gifts but also the sweetness behind them. Pretty funny! I don’t have an opinion abt him. Not a fan of him but did like him in that 99 houses? Movie. Thought he was believable. But Michael Shannon stole the show.

    • third ginger says:

      I think Shannon pretty much always steals the show. One of our finest. Have you seen TAKE SHELTER?

  16. Nev says:

    Shhhhhhhhhhh. And have a seat.

  17. Big D says:

    Seems to me he is saying this to appease the gay fans, and get their bums on seats but I smell a bit of condescension here. Not cool.

  18. QueenElisabeth says:

    he has a weird shaped head

  19. lucy2 says:

    Well, that was rather tone deaf.

  20. LadyT says:

    What’s with all the STFU and eye rolling? I’ve reread his comments and don’t catch what’s so incredibly offensive.

    • Miss S says:

      Same. What he said was tongue in cheek, witty. It was not a serious conversation about sexuality. He also didn’t say that seeing Ru defined everything he needed to know about being gay, it was just something he mentioned as a source of inspiration that was entertaining in that context.

      I hear people reacting to this and I have to say that I kind of understand why some actors feel so defensive when giving interviews.

  21. Melior4 says:

    “Maybe I’ll explore that wonderful side of garden?” Say what? I’m sure all the persecuted gays beg to differ.

  22. Snowflake says:


  23. KatieBo says:

    To be fair, Prior Walter (Garfield’s character in Angels of America) is a former drag queen. There’s an entire monologue performed in drag, one of the central relationships (with Belize) revolves around his involvement with drag- drag culture is referenced and featured heavily in this show. I think that this quote needs some context regarding the play.

    • LadyT says:

      Very nice to see someone trying to be fair. He made some innocuous remarks about his acting in a play.

    • KB says:

      I haven’t seen the play but in the HBO version there’s a lot of Prior in drag

  24. Sayrah says:

    I guess I completely read this wrong yesterday. I thought he was coming out but just not ready for a relationship. I’ve known gay men who don’t have sex and just heard Tim Gun identifies the same way. You’re saying he’s pandering to his gay fans by saying he’s doing stereotypically gay things? Ugh

  25. third ginger says:

    This play is a masterpiece. The UK audiences are fortunate. One American we can take pride in is the glorious Tony Kushner. What a writer!!

    • KatieBo says:

      My favourite piece of writing. Ever. I’ve seen it and read it countless times. I’m so excited to see the National Theatre Live broadcast this month!

  26. Word says:

    That monthly meetings line was funny.

  27. Mannori says:

    I’m a douchebag looking for a headline and some hype among the very powerful, hype and internet present LGBT community, just without the physical act of actually being a douchebag. Ugh…actors, even the cute ones are dumb AF.

  28. Hannah says:

    Do people actually know the play? The character he plays is a drag queen.

  29. Ashley says:

    I traveled from the States specifically to see Andrew Garfield in Angels In America. I have been a longtime fan, especially since seeing him on Broadway in Death of A Salesman, and I knew he would play Prior Walter brilliantly. Andrew transforms himself into the character, and does it seamelsssly with humor, humility and strength.

    I listened to the NT podcast. Before he mentioned watching RuPaul’s Drag Race he said he took drag classes and read books about gay culture. Andrew is an advocate for the LGBQT community and I do not think his comment was meant to be disrespectful to the gay community. He was probably nervous during the interview.

    To share a bit about him. I have met Andrew on few occasions and he is the nicest person. He does not have a mean bone in his body. He is very quiet and he is a bit nervous. I had a conversation with him before I watched the Two Play Day, and he asked me, “You’re seeing the play today, right?” When I told him yes. He said, “Oh, God. I hope I don’t mess up!”

    This is the person he is. He cares deeply what people think of him, and I am sure he did not mean to offend people by his comment. 🙂

  30. notlistening says:

    Oh god, he´s such a twat.

  31. SM says:

    I find this offensive because it comes off as a joke, oh, ha, ha, I’m gay. For many gay people who have to encounter a lot of stigma and discrimination or even violence because of their sexual orientation this is not a matter of waking up one day and feeling like you are into being gay and it all i so fun. That sounded to me like a statement made because of the privilege because he is a straight white male

  32. spunk says:

    eeeehm,yeah…uhm,I don’t know…whether it is innocuous or not what he said does not really matter. it further perpetuates stereotypes. I would rather people not jokingly,innocently say what he said as a bisexual man. Many think it is just a choice,not being heterosexual.

    I do not really like him as an actor and I like him less as a person now. I just hope he doesn’t James Franco much in future. And those defending him,you are not helping. I foresee more worrying interviews from this guy in the near future. *vehemently shakes head*

  33. Wren says:

    Oh. I took it wrong then. I thought it meant he was a gay man as in attracted to men, but he wasn’t having sex with anyone right now. Like a dry spell. LOL. Hence, ” without the physical act.”

    I guess I am an idiot.

  34. Vox says:

    As a queer person, I find this pretty offensive. You can’t wear being gay like a costume and the biggest audience for RuPaul is actually heterosexual women, not gay men. I don’t see this as being any better than a white actor playing the role of an Indian person and saying they are for all intents and purposes actually Indian because of eating curry and playing cricket. It’s disappointing to see people here straightsplaining his ignorance because his intent wasn’t to offend.

    I get that he’s playing a drag queen but the problem isn’t really that he prepares for his role with RuPaul, but rather him saying he’s totally gay right now, just without, you know, the sexual attraction to men or sexual activities with men – as if it’s a matter of choice. It’s an ignorant thing to say and queer people have every right to be offended.

    • Shan says:

      Exactly. The people who are defending this are totally missing the point. They’re not getting what it is that people are offended over in his statements. He’s not some “honorary gay” just because he consumes a massive amount of gay media. Even in joking, what does he exactly mean about being a gay man in his life outside the play? He’s a method actor, so what is he defining as a gay lifestyle to make him feel like he’s really playing the part in every way? It’s incredibly tone deaf. It treads dangerously into stereotyping. He can watch as much Ru as he wants but he will never get the true experience of living as a gay man, and to say that, even in joking, that he’s so into the culture, he’s gay, that’s incredibly problematic and insulting to those who walk that walk and live it every single day. He’s a cultural tourist, and gets the pats on his back for being an ally, and he can imagine what it might be like to be gay, but at the end of the day, as a straight man, he can take off that hat, and not worry about the bigotry, harassment, danger, and struggle.